The planet and its resources cannot support continual population growth. If the rights of women and girls are realized – population dynamics will change, and we’ll improve the health and prosperity of individuals, families, and the Earth.
Every advocate for population stabilization should be an ardent supporter of girls’ education, family planning, and the myriad of other issues that enable gender equity.
Work related to population can be controversial, and those discussions should not be overlooked. Population advocacy should be centered around empowering people, improving lives, and letting people make their own decisions. Population stabilization is achieved through pursuit and realization of a progressive human rights agenda; we can enhance the rights of women and girls and protect the Earth.
Horrors of Coercion
Population interventions based on demographic targets have seen coercive methods in the past, including the forced sterilizations in India in the 1970s and other human rights abuses that continue to surface. PMC acknowledges these for what they are: horrific. PMC does not support coercive approaches to stabilizing population because they are inhumane and unnecessary. There are human rights enhancing ways to contribute toward population stabilization. Let’s improve the status of women and girls.
Population vs. Consumption
Population is sometimes not seen as part of the problem. Instead, the problem is identified as things such as capitalism, consumerism, or inadequate technology. PMC fully supports the important work being done by other organizations to address over-production and over-consumption. We must lessen excessive ecological footprints wherever they occur, including those of corporations, governments, and individuals. However, the equation that leads us to today’s incredible outstripping of the Earth’s resources and ecological impoverishment includes both our socio-economic behaviors and the number of people. We must address both in order to live sustainably. Regardless of how little an individual might consume, or how responsibly a corporation might produce, at some point a large enough population would still outstrip available renewable resources.
People must question the intentions of groups working to change demographics. PMC relies on demographic data and input from host countries to determine areas of highest need. Because PMC knows that improving human health and human rights lowers fertility rates and improves the lives of individuals, the places with human health and human rights needs are the places where PMC goes to work. We don’t care what your color, creed, or ethnicity is, we want to help improve your opportunities to make informed decisions and live healthy, happy, prosperous lives.
Whenever one organization works within a different culture, a tremendous amount of care must be taken. PMC hires all local writers, actors, and production staff to create programs that are culturally specific. The issues addressed in each program are based on the concerns of the host country, and the values of the program are based on the policies of that country, including the UN agreements to which the country is a signatory. In some programs, in-country staff does address harmful traditional practices, such as female genital mutilation or domestic violence. The staff work hard to think about how to approach the topics and how to spur conversation within the audience. What often results is a realization that “common” and “culture” are not synonymous. Unnecessary death and suffering are not culture and it can’t be justified as such — instead, misinformation is often the culprit.
Many believe that population growth is necessary for economic growth, which is often the opposite. The real measure of economic welfare is not gross national product (GNP), but GNP per capita. It is clear that individual incomes tend to rise as fertility rates fall. In fact, every country that has been reclassified from developing status to developed status since World War II first started with fertility reduction by promoting family planning and small family norms.
Religious perspectives on issues like contraception and reproductive health vary greatly, even within branches of the same religion, but according to the Demographic and Health Surveys, many women cite male opposition, religious opposition, or misinformation as the primary barriers to using contraceptives — not access. In all countries and all religions, it requires examination to know if religion is a barrier to reproductive choice and if religious leaders are opposed or supportive.
Abortion: Right to Choose
Women should have the right to choose whether or not to follow through with a pregnancy and abortion should be legal and safe. But we must work hard to decrease the need for abortions. By providing communities with culturally appropriate information and access to contraception and family planning services, the number of women seeking abortions will decrease. We want every child to be a wanted child.
PMC does not work on immigration.